If you elect to purchase a CBD product for your pet, research is a crucial first step.
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These days, it may feel like you’re hearing about CBD oils and other new CBD products having a positive impact on health and wellness—for us and for our dogs and cats.
But what exactly are CBD products for pets? Do they really work? And more importantly—are they safe?
It can be hard to sift through all the marketing speak and get down to the facts about CBD for dogs and cats. I’ve put together this reference article to help you learn all about the terminology, the potential benefits, and the things you should consider when speaking to your veterinarian and shopping for products.
What is CBD?
CBD is the abbreviation used for cannabidiol, one of the chemical compounds derived from either hemp or marijuana plants.
CBD acts on the endocannabinoid systems (ECS) of both humans and pets, including dogs and cats. The endocannabinoid system is a unique communications system in the brain and body that affects many important functions, including how a pet feels, moves, and reacts.
When extracted and used in oils, chews and other products, CBD can potentially assist with a variety of different conditions including calming, relaxation, and potentially even osteoarthritis pain relief for our pets.
Differences Between Hemp and Marijuana
Both hemp and marijuana are varieties of the Cannabis sativa plant. Both contain CBD, but the main difference between the two comes down to the THC levels found in both plants.
THC is abbreviated for delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol, which is the chemical compound responsible for the intoxicating effects associated with cannabis.
Hemp has less than 0.3 percent THC by dry weight at the time of harvest. But marijuana has greater than 0.3 percent THC.
Can CBD Get My Pet High?
CBD is the non-intoxicating component of both hemp and marijuana plants. Unlike THC, CBD cannot get you or your pets high, if dosed appropriately.
However, CBD can influence brain activity in pets, which leads to some of the potential benefits, such as a reduction in stress and anxiety for dogs and cats.
Pets should never be given an intoxicating level of THC. It’s important to discuss dosage instructions with your veterinarian and to never experiment with products not created specifically for pets.
Is CBD Safe for Dogs and Cats?
Studies have shown that CBD products have a wide margin of safety in both dogs and cats. Multiple veterinary studies published in the past two years have shown that, even when given high levels of CBD, pets experienced no major adverse effects (1) (2) (3).
Remember, CBD contains no intoxicating properties and will not get your pet high.
As more research is conducted, we will all gain more information regarding the effect of long-term use of CBD products in pets.
Potential Benefits of CBD for Pets
Hemp-derived CBD products for pets are still new in the veterinary space, so the scientific verdict is still out on what CBD can and cannot do from a medical perspective.
Hemp-derived products work conjointly with a pet’s natural endocannabinoid system, which helps to regulate many of the body’s different functions in our dogs and cats.
Based off of both human and veterinary literature, CBD products may also help pets in the following ways:
Anti-inflammatory (i.e. hypersensitivity, dermatitis)
Reduction in pain
Reduction in seizures and convulsions
Immune system support (i.e. autoimmune disease, cancer)
Nervous system support
Cardiovascular system support
Reduction in anxiety
There is also anecdotal evidence to support the use of hemp-derived CBD products for pets. A 2018 survey revealed that pet owners endorsed hemp CBD treats and products because of perceived improvement in numerous ailments including pain, inflammation, anxiety, digestive system issues, and aid with sleep. A few published peer reviewed studies showed that using hemp-derived CBD oil improved the lives of dogs with osteoarthritis (4) (5).
How Do Cats and Dogs React to CBD?
Significant research still needs to be performed to thoroughly compare the differences between the endocannabinoid system of pets and how this system responds to phytocannabinoids (synthetic and plant-based cannabinoids) like CBD.
There are two major types of cannabinoid receptors in a pet’s body—CB1 and CB2. These receptors help to balance and regulate a pet’s immune and central nervous system, which can ultimately influence inflammation, pain, allergies, and mood.
Watch my informational detailed video on CBD for pets that will guide you through the process of using CBD for your pet.